Jenrry Mejia

From BR Bullpen

Jenrry Manuel Mejia

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6', Weight 160 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Jenrry Mejia made his MLB debut at age 20 in 2010.

Mejia was signed by International Scouting Director Ismael Cruz and scout Sandy Rosario for the New York Mets in April 2007. He went 2-3 with a save and a 2.47 ERA for the 2007 DSL Mets with 47 strikeouts in 43 2/3 IP and only 24 hits allowed but walked 27. In 2008, he was 2-0 with one run in 15 IP for the GCL Mets and 3-2 with a 3.49 ERA for the Brooklyn Cyclones as the second-youngest performer in the New York-Penn League. He was 4th in the NYPL with a .209 opponent average and led the Gulf Coast League with one shutout.

In 2009, Mejia was with the St. Lucie Mets (4-1, 1.97) and Binghamton Mets (0-5, 4.47, 47 K in 44 1/3 innings). When he debuted with Binghamton, he was the youngest pitcher active in AA. He missed over a month late in the year with a strain on one of his right fingers. He had been named to the World team for the 2009 Futures Game but the injury caused him to be removed from the roster in favor of Francisco Samuel. He was then 1-3 with a 12.56 ERA in the Arizona Fall League.

Despite having never won a game above the A level, Mejia made the 2010 Mets bullpen out of spring training, one of 3 MLB rookies in the bullpen. The other two, though, were older pitchers, veterans of Nippon Pro Baseball - Ryota Igarashi and Hisanori Takahashi. In his MLB debut, he relieved John Maine with a 4-1 deficit in the 6th inning to face the 7th, 8th and 9th hitters. He allowed a single to Cody Ross and a double to Gaby Sanchez. He fanned opposing hurler Ricky Nolasco but Chris Coghlan singled in Ross. Cameron Maybin hit into a force at home and Hanley Ramirez grounded out. In the 8th, he was relieved by Sean Green. Altogether, he was 0-4 with a 4.62 ERA in 33 games for the Mets, including 3 starts, covering 39 innings. He also spent time with 4 minor league teams, ranging from the GCL Mets to the AAA Buffalo Bisons. He was outstanding in AA and AAA, putting up a 1.32 ERA in 6 starts for the Binghamton Mets, and ginving up a single run in 8 innings in his one AAA start for Buffalo.

Mejia was sent to Buffalo to open the 2011 season, and in the early going was 1-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 5 starts, giving up only 16 hits in 28.1 innings. Just when it looked like he was headed back to New York in the near future, he was taken out of a game in the 4th inning complaining of pain and was soon after diagnosed with a complete tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right elbow. He met with Dr. James Andrews and opted to undergo Tommy John surgery. He made his return to the Mets on September 7, 2012, after going 4-4, 3.59 at three different minor league levels during the season. On September 24th, he earned his first career major league victory, 6-2 over the Pittsburgh Pirates, benefiting from a pair of homers by 1B Ike Davis. He was 1-2, 5.41 in 5 games but again struggled with injuries in 2013. He made two starts each with three different minor league teams that season, putting up an ERA of 2.55 in 24 2/3 innings. After his second start at Binghamton, he was called up to the Mets at the end of July and made 5 starts during which he pitched quite well. His ERA was 2.46 in 27 1/3 innings, with 27 Ks and only walks, although his record was only 1-2.

Mejia started the 2014 season as a starter for the Mets. He won 3 of his first 4 outings, the other being a no-decision. His April 21st start against the St. Louis Cardinals was the best of his career thus far as he pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a 2-0 win. Moved to the job of closer during the season, he became notorious for his animated celebrations in celebrating a successful assignment. After a particularly colorful celebration following his notching of his 26th save against the Washington Nationals on September 12th in which he pretended to cast a fishing hook towards home plate and reel in a big catch, Mets manager Terry Collins felt it necessary to publicly tell him to tone it down, as such exaggeration was foreign to the major league culture and risked inciting retaliation by opponents. he finished the season with a record of 6-6, 3.65 and 28 saves.

The 2015 season started badly for Jenrry, as he felt stiffness in his elbow while warming up to enter the team's first game of the year in a save situation against the Washington Nationals on April 6th. He did not pitch and was immediately sent to undergo an MRI exam. The exam showed inflammation but no structural damage, and he was placed on the disabled list after receiving a cortisone shot. He was then hit by another blow less than a week later, as on April 11th he was handed an 80-game suspension for testing positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid. He was the fourth pitcher to receive such a suspension in two weeks. Like many others before him, Mejia said he had no idea how the banned substance ended up in his system. He made his return to the team in its final game before the All-Star break on July 12th, but by then Jeurys Familia had taken over as the team's closer and pitched very well, making Jenrry's future role unclear, especially as a change in MLB rules meant that the suspension made him ineligible for the postseason. He made 6 appearances as a set-up man for Familia, not giving up any runs, then was hit with another suspension as he again tested positive for stanozolol. This time, the suspension was 162 games, equivalent to a full season. Manager Collins called it a "bad, bad decision" on Jenrry's part and added: "(I am) extremely, extremely disappointed in what’s happened. This team's had enough bad breaks and bad luck this year to last a long time."

More bad news followed on February 12, 2016, when it was revealed that Mejia had failed a third drug test, resulting in his becoming the first MLB player to be banned for life under its drug policy. However, there is a provision for him to ask for a review of his status after two years. Still, showing his complete inability to take responsibility for his actions, he stated in an interview three weeks later that he was the victim of a witch hunt and of a conspiracy and that the Players Association had failed to defend him properly. His claim was that Major League Baseball had fabricated a false positive test in order to "get him" for appealing his second positive one. He repeated his claim through a lawyer, saying he had been framed because he had refused to provide testimony against another player under investigation by MLB, and that he would fight his ban in court. MLB fully denied the allegations, claiming no one from MLB had met or spoken with Mejia regarding any of his drug violations, and that if any such meeting had happened, it would have been in the presence of a representative from the Players Association.

In January 2018, it was reported that the Mets had offered him a one-year contract for $1.7 million; however, he was not going to collect anything unless he petitioned MLB successfully for reinstatement. The amount was based on the maximum by which a team could reduce a contract and still retain a player's rights. On July 6th that year, MLB announced that he would be eligible for a rehabilitation assignment that August, and to resume all baseball activities the following spring training. As provided for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, he had exercised his right to apply to the Commissioner for reinstatement and his request had been granted. The Commissioner explained that this was a final chance for Mejia and that he was expected to comply fully with Baseball's Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Program in the future. The Mets released him in November, in order not to have him become eligible for salary arbitration. In January 2019, he signed a minor league deal with the Boston Red Sox. The deal was not welcomed in all quarters: veteran reliever Peter Moylan, still unsigned at that point, criticized the fact that a pitcher with a history as checkered as Mejia's was able to find a team when a number of free agents unaffected by such bagage were still looking for work - himself included.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Ted Berg: "What was Jenrry Mejia thinking?", For the Win!, USA Today Sports, February 15, 2016. [1]
  • Ben Berkon: "Jenrry Mejia Says Baseball Officials Orchestrated His Lifetime Ban", The New York Times, March 4, 2016. [2]
  • Chris Cwik: "Jenrry Mejia receives lifetime ban for failing third PED test", Big League Stew, Yahoo! Sports, February 12, 2016. [3]
  • Anthony DiComo: "Mets' Mejia handed permanent suspension",, February 12, 2016. [4]
  • Joe Lemire: "Mets' Jenrry Mejia gets yearlong suspension for second failed PED test", USA Today Sports, July 28, 2015. [5]

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